Unsettling, setting and aligning professional expectations in a teacher education program: a trial of a 'review of candidature' process

Hill, Angela, and McDonald, Helen (2008) Unsettling, setting and aligning professional expectations in a teacher education program: a trial of a 'review of candidature' process. In: Proceedings of the 2008 Australian Teacher Education Association National Conference. pp. 101-113. From: Teacher Educators at Work: What works and where is the evidence?, 8-11 July 2008, Mudjimba, QLD, Australia.

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Recent national and international reports note the challenges facing countries and institutions in attracting quality applicants to the teaching profession (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007; OECD, 2005; UNESCO, 2007). In Queensland, the recent reappearance of one year Graduate Diploma in Education programs suggests a range of issues in recruiting applicants and a further imperative for strategic initiatives to ensure that community 'disquiet' (Moon, 2007) around teacher quality is addressed. While all applicants to Graduate Diploma in Education programs must have an approved undergraduate degree for entry, the imperatives of teacher shortage (particularly secondary teachers), a call for a more diverse teaching profession and overall low enrolments in higher education, all create a complex set of dynamics around student recruitment.

This paper presents an overview of a trial of reforms introduced to a Graduate Diploma of Education program in 2008 to ensure that entrants into the program are inducted into the 'expectations' of the profession. Coupled with other structural reforms to the program, and framed around the Queensland College of Professional Standards, the university Graduate Attributes and the local school community context, a 'review of candidature' process has been developed. The review process, completed prior to enrolment census, actively engages preservice teachers in conversations about their candidature within a teacher education program, enabling a dialogue around expectations for entrants to the teaching profession.

The 'review of candidature' process involves preservice teacher self-reflection, feedback from schools involved in early professional experience, as well as a review of academic progress in relation to selected professional standards. Drawing on research on professional standards in teacher education, teacher quality, and teacher identity, this paper outlines the capacity for the 'review of candidature' process firstly, in supporting pre-service teacher engagement with the expectations of the profession; secondly, articulating to students new to teacher education the ‘what’ in terms of expectations -particularly important given the high proportion of international students involved in the program; thirdly, it potentially strengthens the partnership with schools as it integrates the expectations of professional experience and university, and lastly, it enhances the clarity in the relationship between the university and workplace learning.

The outcomes of the use of this trial review process for 2008 are discussed, and the potential for further use of professional standards to articulate expectations are examined. The paper also considers the ethical issues and tensions that arise through the need to balance the rights of individual students as enshrined in university policies, the pressure to retain student numbers, the requirements of a professional degree, and the perceptions of the local teaching community, at best ambivalent about the introduction of a one year graduate program.

Item ID: 7751
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-9775685-1-2
Keywords: teacher education; professional standards; teacher quality
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Date Deposited: 12 May 2010 01:15
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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